Kidney stones are one of the more painful conditions we can experience. Typically formed in the kidneys as a combination of salts and minerals (for example, calcium), which bind together and form what are known as kidney stones.
The problem arises when the stones either create a blockage, or break away and push their way into the ureters, which are narrow ducts transporting the urine to the bladder. When this occurs, you’ll definitely know you’ve got a painful problem. However, there are other conditions, such as appendicitis, which may mimic the symptoms of kidney stones in certain ways.
First, we list the classic symptoms of kidney stones and then note how some of your symptoms may be due to another condition, as well as where you go from there.
Symptoms of kidney stones:
As the kidney stones make their way down the urinary tract, here’s what you might experience:
(1) Sharp, severe pain in your back, stomach or groin
(2) Urination may become more frequent and/or painful
(3) Nausea and/or vomiting
(4) Signs of blood in your urine
That said, there are also other serious conditions resulting from conditions other than kidney stones and which require immediate medical attention. For example, appendicitis might be the problem in cases of severe abdominal or back pain. If you experience pain while urinating, you may have a urinary tract infection, rather than kidney stones.
Especially when the onset of the pain is sudden, you should first call your doctor or local emergency room to describe your condition. If they tell you to immediately come to the office or hospital, don’t waste any time getting there!
If the cause of your symptoms are determined to be kidney stones, the doctor will be able to assess the size of the stone(s). If they are small enough, your doctor may give you a pain medication and instruct you to drink those famous 8-10 glasses of water each day to help flush out the kidney stones on their own.
Kidney stones may be triggered by a variety of factors, including the beverages you drink, your diet, certain chronic diseases and a disruption in the normal balance of the ‘electrolyte soup’ which affects the ratio of water, salts and minerals passing through the kidney.
People who experience the symptoms of kidney stones often have a genetic or gender-based susceptibility to this painful condition. For example, white men are statistically more vulnerable, often beginning to form stones in their early to mid 40s, while their female counterparts get a break – until their 50s. Chronic conditions, such as gout and HBP, can also contribute to your proclivity to forming kidney stones. However, with proper control of such conditions, this risk can be virtually eliminated.
Perhaps the number one culprit behind the formation of kidney stones is dehydration –drinking too little water. An excess of protein and/or salt in your diet can increase your risk of developing the symptoms of kidney stones. This is also true if you’ve put on some pounds. Certain medications can make you more vulnerable to kidney stones. You can see that, if you’re diagnosed with kidney stones, you’ll want to discuss a preventative regimen with your doctor!
Now that you know the symptoms of kidney stones, you’re able to assess your relative risk and consult with your doctor on preventative measures.